The latest mutation of the Covid-19 virus, Subvariant XBB 1.5 Kraken, has spread in various countries. This subvariant was even estimated to account for 43 percent of the virus cases in the United States last week.
Now, it is estimated that this new subvariant has been identified in 29 countries around the world. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Health ensures that this new subvariant has not been found in Indonesia.
Regarding the massive spread of the Kraken subvariant, Epidemiologist from Griffith University Dicky Budiman stressed that the mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine was the most effective in preventing the spread of the XBB 1.5 subvariant Covid-19.
This is because mRNA-based vaccines have higher effectiveness against Omicron variants when compared to subunit protein-based vaccines, inactivated viruses, or viral vectors.
“Actually there is good news from the emergence of XBB1.5, which means that currently, it is still one variant [Omicron]. So the existing vaccine is still effective,” said Dicky, quoted Monday (16/1/2023).
He appealed to the government to continue to increase the coverage of Covid-19 vaccinations in Indonesia, especially vaccination programs that use mRNA-based vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna.
According to him, vaccination is still the most effective disaster mitigation during the Covid-19 pandemic. On the other hand, even though the XBB1.5 subvariant is referred to as a type of Covid-19 that does not trigger severe symptoms, Dicky warned the public regarding the long risk of Covid-19 caused by this new subvariant.
Research data shows that 1 in 10 people who are positive for Covid-19 due to the XBB1.5 Kraken subvariant experience long Covid-19.
“This long covid is a terrible impact because it can make a nation sick at 10 percent, this will be a burden on the health system because there will be many chronic illnesses,” explained Dicky.
Meanwhile, XBB1.5 is a mutation of the Omicron XBB subvariant which was first discovered in India in August 2022.
Meanwhile, the new Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant is estimated to account for 43 percent of COVID-19 cases in the United States (US) for the week ending January 14, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ CDC) US on Friday (13/1).
The XBB.1.5 subvariant spread quickly in the US. XBB.1.5 accounted for 30.4 percent of total cases in the week ending January 7, up from 20.1 percent the previous week and 11.8 percent from the previous two weeks, according to the CDC.
XBB.1.5 is currently the most infectious variant in the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this week said that XBB.1.5 could trigger more cases of COVID-19 based on genetic characteristics and an estimated initial growth rate.
Two other dominant Omicron subvariants, namely BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, accounted for about 45 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the US in the past week, the CDC data shows.